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An EU representative visits Twitter’s headquarters to “stress test” the company’s content moderation capabilities.

Two weeks before the deadline to comply with sweeping new EU legislation that will apply to huge social media platforms, a top European Union official is travelling Silicon Valley this week and reminding digital giants like Twitter and Facebook-parent Meta of their content moderation commitments.

EU Commissioner Thierry Breton and his staff visited Twitter’s San Francisco offices on Thursday to conduct a “stress test” of the company’s capacity to regulate user-generated content. The purpose of the experiment was to gauge Twitter’s readiness for compliance with the Digital Services Act (DSA), one of the first platform regulating legislation of its sort in the world. The DSA’s requirements will go into effect on August 25.

Breton tweeted, “The company is taking this exercise very seriously,” along with a video of his videoconference discussion with Twitter owner Elon Musk.

The DSA imposes stringent requirements on sites like Twitter regarding openness and content, including as a prohibition on age-specific advertising. The DSA allows for sanctions of up to 6% of a company’s annual global revenue in the event of a violation.

Without revealing whether he thinks Twitter passed or failed the stress test, Breton portrayed the meeting as a “constructive dialogue” that Twitter agreed to participate in on its own.

A post from Twitter’s new CEO, Linda Yaccarino, saying “Thank you @ThierryBreton,” appeared after the meeting. Twitter places a high priority on its relationships across Europe, and we look forward to working with you in the future.

Breton mentioned Twitter as one of the companies that would be subjected to a stress test in his statement on Thursday. Next month, he said, a similar review will be conducted on TikTok.

Breton also implied that doing business in Europe is a special favour for American tech firms.

Compliance with European regulations is not a penalty. He explained that this was an excellent chance to join the European Single Market. And this, my local businesses, is the message I bring. The European Union welcomes you, but on our terms.

Breton said he would be meeting with the CEOs of Alphabet, Meta, OpenAI, and Nvidia this week. He would also be meeting with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

He also mentioned that he was there to talk about the EU’s forthcoming regulations on AI. The European Parliament just last week passed the AI Act, a piece of legislation designed to govern AI in tandem with the DSA and European competition and privacy law.

After Musk bought Twitter last year, skepticism about the platform’s ability to combat concerns like hate speech and false information grew. US politicians have pointed to the company’s recent layoffs as an obstacle to protecting the 2024 US elections as recently as this week.

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